Though the date for the Presidential election is not yet known but political figures in the country have already been fine-tuning strategies to canvass for supporters and votes.
One of such fertile grounds to is votes is in the Northern regions of Cameroon where politicians have already identified and mapped out for a robust campaign even before the real campaigns are announced.
Since the turn of the year, atleast 5 political figures have been to these regions to sell their ideologies and win the people’s support and sympathy.
The latest of such figures is Akere Muna and his Now Movement, just back from a one-week tour of the Northern regions which he describes as « potentially rich but heavily unexploited.
The tour done essentially by road started in the East region where Akere where he sought to make and consolidate new grounds on his political rivals.
Proposing, not opposing, this was Akere’s mantra as he went up to kick start his battle of the North which had been launched earlier by other political parties.
Serge Espoir Matomba of the PURS (Peuple Uni pour la Renovation Sociale) sent strong signals when he drew a mammoth crowd early in January as he stormed the Northern regions to canvasss dupport for his Presidential bid.
Five million jobs will be created in five years iof Serge Espoir Matomba is elected President of Cameroon-that at least is what the Norther regions were made kto believe by the Bonaberi resident.
With these regions mainly agrarian, 2000 billion Francs will be pumped into the agricultural sector to boost food production and the supply chain in the country, Espoir Matomba said.
The party took advantage to put a strong foot in Maroua by setting up a new executive bureau of the party’s Far North Confederation.
« 2018 is an electoral year in Cameroon, so beyond social renovation,we want to change the political and ruling class(MPs, Senators, Mayors, municipal councillors) in the Far North region, because we are in need of active youths and women women involved in decision making in this region, » Serge Espoir Matomba told the crowd gathered at the party’s regional headquarters in Maroua.
Matomba’s crowd-pulling tour early in January was a wake up call to other political parties especially to the ruling CPDM who felt threatened in one of its stronghold.
No wonder, House Speaker Cavaye Yeguie Djibril has been on several political trips to his region of origin to « convince my brothers, sisters and children that the CPDM is the best party for them and only President Paul Biya can bring development to the region. »
According to local media reports, some students from the University of Maroua were recruited and paid to march within the rangs of the ruling party on 11 February in the locality of Tokombéré, a stronghold of Cavaye Yeguie Djibril that has come under constant threats from the opposition since the turn of the year.
Even the National Front for Cameroon’s Salvation, a member of the Presidential majority headed by Issa Tchiroma Bakakary enterred the scene last week with a tour of Garoua, headquarters and stronghold of the party. During the tour, Issa Tchiroma Bakary announced that his party will be participating in the upcoming Senatorial elections despite the limited number of Councillors(two in the Garoua 1 council).
The Divisional Officer of the Ngaoundere 1 council has been in a tug of war with the UNIVERS party of University don Prosper Nkou Mvondo, banning several meetings or rallies organised by the party. UNIVERS is set to pick the leader of the « 11 million citizens » movement Cabral Libii and have accompanied him through out his tour of the three northern regions earlier this year to encourage citizens to register and vote at the upcoming elections.
So what is the juice in the rather sunny and dry Northern regions that political figures are out to suck even before the race starts ?
According to Elecam statistics, the three Northern regions have 2.180.340 voters of the 6.3367.450 voters registered nationwide-that is about a third of the registered voting population. This electoral reservoir has been highly scrambled upon by political parties who have as leaders natives from these regions.
Bello Bouba Maigari’s UNDP, Garga Haman Hadji’s ADD, Amadou Moustapha’s ANDP, Dakole Daissala’s MDR, Issa Tchiroma’s FSNC are all born from the region. Add to that the ruling CPDM party. Even the Paul Biya’s reluctance to go out on campaigns (as he has demonstrated over the years) could not get the better of him during the last Presidential election as went down to the field in these regions to kick start his campaign. Willl he throw his hat in again this time around in the North ? Time will tell.